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Getting deactivated as a Lyft driver is the worst. It usually happens without warning, and many times you have no idea why it happened. Worse, Lyft rarely gives you an explanation of why you were deactivated. One minute you’re able to sign into the app and give rides, and the next minute you see the dreaded “Your account has been deactivated” message.
The best way to deal with Lyft deactivation is to avoid it, and there are many steps you can take. If you do find yourself deactivated, there are also things you can do to get reactivated (in some cases). In this guide, we’ll address both and answer some common questions about Lyft deactivation.
- 18 Reasons Your Lyft Account Was Deactivated
- How to Get Your Lyft Account Reactivated
- Lyft Deactivation FAQ
There are many reasons that Lyft can deactivate your account. Actually, Lyft can deactivate your account for any reason, but they’ll only do so if you do something that violates their terms of service or puts a passenger at risk. They don’t want to deactivate drivers, as that means fewer people to serve passengers and ultimately a lower bottom line.
Here are some of the most common reasons for Lyft deactivation, as well as steps for how to avoid or fix each:
1. Your Documents on File Are Outdated
This is a really common cause of sudden deactivation. In addition to maintaining current vehicle registration, insurance, and a valid driver’s license, you also have to make sure that Lyft has your updated information on file. If the information they have is out of date, they will deactivate you (even if you’ve kept all your documents up to date).
Luckily, this is an easy issue to fix. Just update the documents in Lyft’s system, and you should get reactivated soon. If you have problems, you can contact Lyft for help.
2. Your Vehicle Is Too Old
This is another common reason for sudden deactivation. Lyft requires your car to be less than a certain age to drive for their platform. The maximum vehicle age varies based on city, but it’s never more than 15 years. If Lyft’s records show that your car has become too old to use, they’ll deactivate you.
To fix this issue, your only option is to get a newer vehicle to drive. Once you’ve done this, you can add the updated vehicle information to your account and request that Lyft reactivate you.
3. You Transported a Minor
It is against Lyft’s policies to give rides to anyone under the age of 18. It doesn’t matter if they have the Lyft app and can pay — you can’t transport them legally without the presence of a parent or guardian who is at least 18.
Sometimes, it can be hard to tell someone’s age, and you would never want to mistake someone for being a minor who isn’t. But if someone requests a ride who is obviously a child, then you cancel the ride and explain to them that you’re not legally allowed to transport them.
4. You Broke the Law While Driving
This is a broad category, but Lyft can and will deactivate you if they find out you did anything illegal while driving for their platform. This could something minor like speeding or running a red light, or it could be something more serious like a hit-and-run or threatening a passenger.
If you get deactivated for doing something illegal, then it’s unlikely Lyft will reactivate you. Breaking the law while driving with Lyft can result in immediate and permanent deactivation. Always obey traffic laws and other laws while driving with Lyft.
5. You Drove Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
While this falls under the previous point, it’s worth mentioning on its own since Lyft has an entire page dedicated to it. Lyft has a zero-tolerance policy with regards to drivers being under the influence of alcohol or drugs while driving.
Even if you can function fine (or believe that you can), Lyft does not care. If a passenger reports you as being under the influence, then they will deactivate you permanently.
6. You Let a Passenger Have an Open Container or Use Drugs
This one is a bit complicated, since it is legal for passengers to have open containers or even drink alcohol in a vehicle in some states. Regardless of state laws, however, it is against Lyft’s policies for passengers to have open containers of alcohol in Lyft rides.
If you’re just transporting a single passenger, it’s unlikely that Lyft will find out about this, but it could be an issue for Shared Lyft rides. It’s best to err on the side of caution and never let passengers drink alcohol in your vehicle. And, of course, you should never let passengers use other drugs while in your vehicle (with the obvious exception of prescription medication that a passenger is taking under a doctor’s supervision).
7. You Violated Lyft’s Anti-Discrimination Policy
Lyft does not tolerate discrimination based on any of the following:
- National origin
- Gender identity
- Physical or mental disability
- Medical condition
- Marital status
- Age (with the obvious exception of transporting unaccompanied minors)
- Sexual orientation
If a passenger reports you for discriminating against them, Lyft will deactivate you immediately. This deactivation will likely be permanent.
Of course, if you believe that a passenger was lying about the discrimination, you can contact Lyft and attempt to fight it (it’s helpful to have dash cam footage for situations like these). This is a tricky area, however, and Lyft is likely to side with the passenger if there’s any doubt.
8. You Refused to Transport a Rider’s Service Animal
It is against both the law and Lyft’s policies for you to refuse to transport a passenger because they have a service animal. Now, it can be difficult to verify if an animal is actually a service animal, but the law more or less says that you need to take a passenger at their word if they say so.
Service animals do not have to wear any special tags or harnesses to identify them, and the passenger does not have to have any documentation proving that they have a service animal. You are required to transport the service animal even if you are allergic, uncomfortable, or have a religious or cultural objection to them.
If you refuse to transport a rider because of their service animal, Lyft can immediately and permanently deactivate you. There is an important caveat to this rule, however. Lyft states that you’ll only be deactivated if “an investigation into the alleged denial verifies a wrongful denial.”
In other words, if someone is abusing the service animal policy and lying about their dog being a service animal, you can report this to Lyft and they can reactivate you. This is another situation where a dash cam is useful.
In general, we recommend you transport all riders who claim to have a service animal, even if it seems fairly obvious they’re lying. Once you’ve dropped off the passenger, you can call Lyft’s Service Animal Hotline at 1-877-452-4866 to report the passenger if you think they’re abusing the service animal policy.
9. Sexual Comments or Contact With Passengers
Lyft does not allow you to make sexual remarks to or have sex with your passengers. This includes using the Lyft app to contact a passenger after a ride. Doing so will get you deactivated with little chance of reactivation.
10. Texting While Driving
This is a safety violation that is against the law in most states. If a passenger reports you for doing this, Lyft will deactivate you for such unsafe driving behavior and likely won’t reactivate your account.
11. Giving Rides to People on the Street
Don’t pick up people who flag you down like a taxi. This is very unsafe, and it’s also against Lyft’s policies. If someone wants a ride, they can download the Lyft app and request one. Lyft’s safety team takes this seriously and will deactivate you for doing it.
11. Your Driver Rating Is Too Low
Lyft does not have an official statement on this matter, but it’s fairly clear based on driver experience that a low driver rating will get you deactivated. How low is too low depends on your city. After all, your absolute driver rating matters less than your rating relative to other drivers. If the average rating in your city is a 4.5, and you’re at 4, you’re probably going to get deactivated.
The best way to deal with this issue is to avoid low ratings. Some low ratings are inevitable, but you can keep your star rating high by always providing top customer service and being friendly to riders.
12. Passenger Complaints
This is a broad category that relates to a low driver rating. If passengers are complaining about the service you’re providing, about your vehicle being dirty, or about you doing anything illegal or unsafe, then Lyft is likely to deactivate you. The easiest solution is to give passengers no reason to complain (as long as doing so doesn’t violate any other Lyft policies or laws).
13. Changes in Your Criminal History or Driving Record
You have to undergo a background check before driving with Lyft, but passing that background check doesn’t mean you can then break as many laws as you want with no consequences. If Lyft learns that you’ve broken the law in a way that violates their background check policy, they can deactivate you at their discretion.
14. Falsifying Documents or Information
If Lyft learns that you falsified any documents or information as part of your Lyft application, they can permanently deactivate you. They may also report you to law enforcement; fraud of this nature is a serious crime.
15. Having a Weapon in Your Vehicle
Even if it is legal to do so under state law, you cannot have a weapon in your vehicle while you are giving Lyft rides. Lyft defines a weapon as “any form of firearm,” but also as “stun guns, explosives, knives, slingshots and tasers.” Ultimately, Lyft reserves the right to determine what does and doesn’t qualify as a weapon. If you’re in doubt, don’t bring it.
Even though it is legal for you to do so, Lyft asks that you not smoke cigarettes or other tobacco products while transporting passengers. While they don’t explicitly say so, this likely includes vaping as well.
Even when you’re not transporting passengers, don’t smoke in the vehicle you drive with Lyft. It leads to a poor passenger experience, and even having a car that smells like smoke can result in deactivation: “If a passenger reports that a driver’s car smells like smoke, their [the driver’s] account may be disabled.”
17. Having a Dirty or Damaged Vehicle
Lyft requires all drivers to have clean and properly maintained vehicles. Having a dirty vehicle leads to an unpleasant passenger experience, and having a damaged one can endanger passenger safety. Always attend to any problems with your car before they become serious, as passenger reports of such issues can lead to deactivation.
18. Bringing a Friend or Family Member With You
You are not allowed to have other people in your car who aren’t Lyft passengers. Even if doing so makes you feel safer, it is against Lyft’s policy to have a friend or family member ride with you while you’re giving Lyft rides. This is for two reasons.
First, it is a safety issue, as Lyft has no way of vetting the other person or holding them accountable for what they do. Second, having someone else in your vehicle takes up capacity that you’re supposed to use for passengers. This can lead to inconvenience even for groups of three people, who would rather not all cram into the back your car.
We’ve already covered this in the sections above, but it’s worth explaining how to get your Lyft account reactivated in general. For all deactivation issues, you’ll need to contact Lyft support. To do so, go to this page.
You can then proceed to explain why you think the deactivation was unfair (or that you don’t know why you’ve been deactivated). Lyft will then get back to you and attempt to help resolve the issue. Keep in mind that Lyft can choose to reactivate drivers at their discretion; they are not required to do so, and you have little negotiating power in this matter.
To conclude, let’s address some common questions about Lyft deactivation:
1. How low can your rating go before deactivation?
We don’t suggest you find out for yourself, but this depends on your city. Many drivers claim that lower than a 4.6 rating will get you deactivated, but it depends on your city. Your focus should be on maintaining as high a driver rating as you can, not on meeting the minimum to avoid deactivation. Learn more about the Lyft rating system here.
2. Do acceptance rates affect deactivation?
Lyft has no official statement about this topic, but driver experience widely indicates that you should maintain an acceptance rate of at least 90 percent in order to avoid deactivation. If your cancellation rate is too high, it’s a red flag for Lyft, as it means that you’re not giving rides to people that need them.
To keep your acceptance rate high, only drive when you’re willing to accept all ride requests you receive. Otherwise, just log out of the app and come back later.
3. Can I sue Lyft for deactivating me?
Theoretically you can, but it’s probably a waste of your time unless you believe that Lyft is discriminating against you. You’re an independent contractor with Lyft, so you don’t have as much legal recourse as an employee would.
Furthermore, Lyft has large amounts of money and extensive legal resources, so you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle. We suggest you just find another way to make money driving if you can’t get your Lyft account reactivated.
4. How long will it take Lyft to reactivate my account?
This depends on the reason for your deactivation. If it’s something minor and simple like out-of-date documents, then your account should be reactivated quickly. On the other hand, if it’s a more serious matter relating to discrimination or a service animal violation, the process could take much longer. This is because Lyft will need to perform an investigation, which can be time consuming.
5. Will I still get paid for previous rides if Lyft deactivates me?
Yes, you’ll still receive payment for any rides you have given, though it will be difficult to check your earnings in your driver account while you’re deactivated. Lyft is still legally obligated to pay you for the work you performed even if they have deactivated you.
Avoid Lyft Deactivation and Keep Giving Rides
We hope this guide has helped you understand Lyft deactivation. Ultimately, the best way to deal with deactivation is to avoid it. As long as you’re a good driver, treat passengers with respect, and don’t violate any of Lyft’s policies, you’ll be able to avoid deactivation.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.